|Irish Coffee: Did the Celtics solve rebounding woes?||09.05.12 at 11:50 am ET|
Last season, the Celtics ranked dead last in the NBA in total rebounds per game and third-to-last in both rebound differential and rebounding percentage. Not good. Not good at all. So, what did they do to improve those woes?
The short answer: Not much. The long answer? Well, that’s what we hope to explain here. First, the C’s issues.
- Rebounds per game: 38.8 (30th)
- Offensive rebounds per game: 7.7 (30th)
- Defensive rebounds per game: 31.1 (14th!)
- Rebounding percentage: 47.3 (28th)
- Offensive rebounding percentage: 19.7 (30th)
- Defensive rebounding percentage: 72.4 (20th)
- Opponents’ rebounds per game: 43.2 (21st)
- Rebound differential: -4.4 (28th)
The Celtics ranked in the top half of the NBA in just one category: Defensive rebounding, and even then they’re a middling bunch. The C’s had only two players among the league’s top 50 rebounders — Kevin Garnett (23rd) and Brandon Bass (48th) — while a team like the Lakers owned two of the NBA’s top 10 best window washers.
Things didn’t get much better in the playoffs. The C’s ranked 13th out of 16 teams in rebounds per game, 12th in opponents’ rebounds per game and 14th in rebound differential. And they ranked ninth in defensive rebounding rate, third-to-last in total rebounding rate and dead last in offensive rebounding rate. Bad, worse and terrible.
The good news: Both Garnett and Bass still anchor the C’s backcourt. The bad news: Both Garnett and Bass still anchor the C’s backcourt. While Garnett’s rebounding rate has been in fairly steady decline since he arrived in Boston, he averaged more than a rebound better once he moved to center (8.7 per game) than he did as the team’s starting power forward (7.5 per game). However, the rebounding numbers for Bass changed little during his move from the bench (6.1 in 27.9 minutes per game) to the starting lineup (6.2 in 33.6 minutes per game).
The Celtics feature the best rebounding point guard in the game (Rajon Rondo‘s average of 4.8 boards per game even surpassed 6-foot-6 Kings point Tyreke Evans), and Paul Pierce ranked among the 10 best rebounders at his position last season, but neither helped matters much last season. So, where can the C’s improve?
|Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo continues bromance with Manny Pacquiao, wants ‘at least’ two NBA titles in next five years||08.28.12 at 9:50 am ET|
We’ve already discussed in detail the bromance between Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and the Celtics that they consummated after the C’s 2008 NBA championship victory. Naturally, since Rajon Rondo traveled to the Philippines on behalf of Red Bull, the Celtics point guard fielded a number of Pacman questions.
It was love at first sight. Or, as Rondo told ABS-CBN News, “I went back to the locker room, and I saw [Miguel] Cotto walking back, and then I saw Pacquiao come back and he was smiling. So from that point on, I started watching his fights and following him.”
How does Rondo love thee? Let him count the ways. “It’s his competitiveness. He works hard at what he does. “I’ve seen ’24/7,’ so I’ve seen the time that he puts in, and the dedication and the love and passion for his craft.”
|Irish Coffee: Greatest Rajon Rondo interview ever?||08.24.12 at 11:45 am ET|
In the search to find video of Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo‘s appearance at this week’s Obama Classic in New York City — discovering only two poor audio clips of Rondo discussing his reasons to support the President and the brutal slate of NBA point guards — I instead discovered possibly the greatest Rondo interview in history. This from a guy who turned an entire season of his interviews into the “Everybody Loves Rajon” sitcom.
Now, my French isn’t so good, but after the first dude says something about penetrating before mentioning Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the next guy asks a question along the lines of, “You’re a pass-first point guard and a great defender, but you needed to relearn how to shoot. Did you hire a coach to improve your terrible jump shot?”
|Nothing can contain Fab Melo, not even a chair||08.23.12 at 4:26 pm ET|
For your viewing pleasure: Celtics first-round pick Fab Melo collapses into a folding chair at the NBA’s Rookie Training Program. Amazing bonus quote: “The chair was too weak, and an accident happened. I lost weight. I’m good now.” The season can’t get here soon enough. He’s at least going to be a Media Day sensation.
In related news, Melo was elected “the funniest” by his fellow rookies, receiving 22.9 percent of the vote in a survey conducted by NBA.com. Never fear: There’s some game to go along with that fun. His peers voted him the third-best defender among rookies (behind only top two 2012 NBA draft picks Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis), and Melo also received votes for the question: “Which rookie will have the best career?”
Same goes for fellow C’s rookie Jared Sullinger. He finished fourth in the voting for funniest and received votes in response to the survey question: “Which rookie is being the most overlooked.” Still, I’m setting the over-under on the number of times either rookie gets Kevin Garnett to laugh at 0.5.
|The wait is over: Jeff Green signs Celtics contract||08.22.12 at 7:59 pm ET|
On Wednesday afternoon, Jeff Green tweeted, “FINALLY!!!” And the Twittersphere erupted with the assumption that after a summer of intrigue the forward put his signature on a Celtics contract. Sure enough, five hours later, the C’s officially announced his re-signing.
“We are thrilled to be able to have Jeff back with the Celtics,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said in a press release. “Jeff’s versatility on offense and ability to guard players out on the perimeter is something that we are looking forward to having on the court this season.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but previous reports indicated Green would sign for four years and $36 million. The announcement puts an end for now to a nonstop string of questions, mainly about his health following season-ending heart surgery last season. It also ensures the centerpiece from the C’s perspective in the Kendrick Perkins trade of 2011 will remain in Boston.
“I cannot wait to get back out onto the court,” said Green in a prepared statement, “and help this team towards our goal of winning another championship for Boston.”
During the 2010-11 NBA season, Green averaged 9.8 points (48.5 FG%, 29.6 3P%, 79.4 FT%) and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games for the Celtics. He also averaged 7.3 points and 2.7 rebounds over nine playoff games.
Considering their financial commitment, the C’s are surely hoping those numbers will approach or exceed his career averages of 13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 315 games, including three-plus seasons for the Thunder and Sonics franchise.
UPDATE: Just two additional items of note from Steve Bulpett’s story in the Boston Herald on why the contract took so long to finalize: a) Green’s agent, David Falk, said complications from the collective bargaining agreement and other “side issues were more complicated than expected once they agreed on the basic parameters”; and b) insurance complicated matters (what’s new?), according to his player source.
|Irish Coffee: Projecting Dionte Christmas on Celtics||08.21.12 at 1:27 pm ET|
As you can see from the embedded highlights of Pennsylvania’s annual Danny Rumph Classic (3:55-5:25), Celtics training camp invitee Dionte Christmas scored somewhere between 30 and 30,000 points during the charitable tournament commemorating the former Western Kentucky star.
Obviously, exhibition basketball performances should always be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s not easy coming up with 90 seconds of highlights — even when you film yourself dunking on a seven-foot rim in your driveway.
Christmas scored 21 points in the final, leading his #SHOWYALOVE squad to the title, and it’s not like he faced a bunch of folding chairs. The tournament featured Celtics teammate Courtney Lee — who sports a “R.I.P. Danny Rumph” tattoo and will wear his college teammate’s No. 11 in Boston — as well as Marreese Speights, Markieff and Marcus Morris, Hakim Warrick, Thomas Robinson, Rasual Butler and Jason Thompson, among others.
Christmas’ Danny Rumph Classic effort might provide zero indication that he’ll succeed in camp this September, let alone make the Celtics roster, but there’s further evidence that he could contribute to the C’s this season beyond a boatload of 3-pointers and a bunch of dribble drives in a Philadelphia gym.
|Chris Wilcox: ‘I want to get better than where I was’||08.20.12 at 1:02 pm ET|
In somewhat of a lost interview, Celtics big Chris Wilcox joined “Go4it” sports radio talk show host Paul Gant recently to discuss his recovery from an enlarged aorta, his camaraderie with fellow heart surgery patient Jeff Green, returning to Boston and the team’s title hopes for this coming season. Here are some highlights.
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